Bangladesh PM for unified sustainable blue economic belt

IORA seeks UN role in ocean governance

Diplomatic correspondent | Published: 14:45, Sep 05,2019 | Updated: 00:02, Sep 06,2019


Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, together with participants of the IORA Blue Economy Ministerial Conference, poses for a photo during the inaugural session of the conference in a Dhaka hotel on Thursday. — Focus Bangla photo

Twenty countries along the Indian Ocean perimeter on Thursday stressed the need for establishing global processes for governance of the oceans and seas within the UN systems for exploring potentials of deep sea with national, regional and strategic initiatives.

This was said in the Dhaka declaration of a ministerial conference of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) on blue economy held in Dhaka. It was the third IORA conference of this kind hosted by Bangladesh as the country is all set to become the chair of the inter-governmental organisation in 2021.

‘IORA member states will acknowledge the importance and contribution of key global processes with regard to governance, observation, and assessment of oceans and seas within the UN Systems since the outputs of all such global processes and outcomes could provide critical inputs and context to national and regional planning, management and strategic initiatives,’ said article nine of the Dhaka declaration presented at a press conference.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the ministerial-level IORA conference with the participation of 12 ministerial-level delegation of the 22-member organisation. Ten other countries were represented by senior officials of the countries.

Hasina called upon the IORA member-states to build a unified sustainable blue economic belt in this region by making the best use of the untapped resources of the sea, according to state-owned news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.

IORA member-countries suggested in the 17-point Dhaka declaration that the member-countries would undertake unified efforts for a balanced approach between conservation of the marine and coastal ecosystem and utilisation of deep-sea resources for securing a productive marine economy and healthy marine eco-systems.

They decided that the member-countries would align their legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks and ocean management policies with a sustainable development of the blue economy.

In the wake of growing marine pollution and ocean acidification, the IORA countries would address the consequent impacts by supporting the advancement of ocean science in these areas.

The member-states would explore ways to deepen cooperation in areas such as aquaculture, hydrography, seabed mineral exploration,  coastal shipping, eco-tourism and renewable ocean energy to achieve holistic and ecologically sustainable development of the region.

Australian foreign minister Marise Payne, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, Sri Lankan foreign minister Tilak Marapana, Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, IORA chairperson and South African deputy minister Makhotso Madeline Sotyu and International Seabed Authority secretary-general Michael Lodge, among others, spoke on the occasion.

IORA secretary-general Nomvuyo Nokwe and Bangladesh foreign ministry’s maritime affairs unit secretary Khorshed Alam presented the 17-point Dhaka declaration, adopted at the meeting on Thursday, at the press conference.

Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen are members of the IORA.

 Japan, Germany, China, the UK, the US, France, and Egypt are the dialogue partners.

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